Shanghai ‘scandal’ exposes darker side of economy – Geoff Dyer

From Financial Times:

Shanghai loves dazzling engineering projects and its latest scheme is to build trains that will cover the 200km to the tourist destination of Hangzhou in 30 minutes by levitating on magnets.

Yet it is the old-fashioned Tarmac road between the same cities that is now the centre of attention in Shanghai politics, having become the focus of a corruption probe that has exposed the murkier side of China’s soaring economy.

The revelation that the Shanghai pension fund bankrolled the motorway operator has already prompted the detention of two senior officials in the city government as well as the head of the motorway company, who is one of the richest people in China.

One of the officials being investigated is Qin Yu, the governor of a Shanghai district who, as well as having a masters degree in ethics and a specialism in Jean-Paul Sartre, used to be a personal aide to Chen Liangyu. Mr Chen is the Communist party secretary in Shanghai, a member of the national politburo and one of the leaders of the so-called “Shanghai gang” that was prominent under Mr Jiang.[Full Text]


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